Category Archives: Independence Day

Wisdoms of Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill is one of the mose revered men of the 20th Century.  While not everyone thinks highly of him, most people do.  He was a steady leader for his country in a time of immense crisis in the heat of World War II.  He was a close ally with FDR and the two of them together lead the West to victory in the “Great War.”

I am by no means a Churchill historian (although we do have a common ancestor not too far back), but I respect what he was able to accomplish.  A few weeks ago I was looking for a specific quote that was attributed to him and, as a result, read many of his other quotes, a few of which are quite applicable today. So I thought I would share some of those; a nice light read heading into the weekend.

Applicable to our current political situation

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last” — Amen to that

“I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents”  — If this is true, Bush could be the best President ever!

“It has been said that Democracy is the worst form of government except all others that have been tried.”

“It’s not enough that we do our best, sometimes we have to do what’s required.” –Terrorists seem to follow this (at least according to the rationality of their own mind)

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry up as if nothing ever happened.” — Congress?

“Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter.  The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforseeable and uncontrollable events.”  — Bush and Rummy could have used this in ’03, Dems and Libs from then on (at least the first sentence).

“One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it.  If you do that, you will double the danger.  But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.”  — Reagan and Bush understood this.  The rest of America (or at least 71%) doesn’t.  By the way, Terrorists get it too; see Mogadishu and now AQI in Iraq.

“To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years.  To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.”  — Hence why Iraq is so difficult and why we Americans need to be more patient.

“So they [the Government] go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.” — We eptomize this.

“We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire.  Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down.  Give us the tools and we will finish the job.”

“Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.  Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”  — Fantastic!

Some fun and perhaps inspiring ones:

“For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else.”

“I am prepared to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”

“The British nation is unique in this respect: They are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst.”  — This could be the truest thing he said!

“Don’t talk to me about naval tradition. It’s nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash.”

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

“I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down us. Pigs treat us as equals.”

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”

“All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.”

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My 4th of July: Sweat, Rain, and Urine

In my short time of only 5 years of marriage I have has some wonderful and eventful 4th of July’s. I have had some very patriotic one’s and some that were ho-hum, but yesterday’s was probably the most eventful and I will likely remember it for a long time.

For each of the last 3 years, we have celebrated the 4th on the Military Base in which we live (and are soon moving from!!). The base has a great fireworks show and often has activities for the kids and plenty food. We also enjoy sticking around because we get together with a bunch of our close friends from Church who have kids the same age as ours. What is also great about the location is that the fort hosts the show on a huge parade field, so there is plenty of open space for people to sit and for us to toss a football around, it is really fun. The negative, like any big event, is traffic and parking. The base pretty well opens up to the public so there are tons of people, in fact three 4ths ago it took us an hour to get home when on a normal day it only takes about 5 minutes (we live on the base for crying out loud).

So, yesterday we decided that instead of driving over we would would ride our bikes and put the kids in the bike trailer (our kids are (nearly) 3 and 1 y.o.). I had been watching the forecast for a day or two and it indicated that scattered thunderstorms were likely and rain was a 60% chance. That was not going to deter us, we just planned accordingly (and thank goodness we did!). Well, our whole group was supposed to meet at the parade field at about 5:30 or 6:00 (PM), we didn’t get the kids in the trailer until about 6:30, when, of course, it started to rain. So we took the kids out and went back inside and ate our picnic dinner on the floor of the house. After about 15 minutes we went back out, it was only a light drizzle, loaded up the kids (with two camp chairs, a tent, and a blanket in the trailer also), and headed off. Oye! pulling that weight on the bike tore me up, not to mention the insane humidity (anyone who says there is no difference between wet heat and dry heat has lost their mind). When we finally got to the parade field and met up with our friends I was sweating like I had just hiked the Sahara Desert. It was disgusting.

I had felt a little silly about bringing the tent because our entire group of about 25 people just had chairs, blanket, and umbrella’s. So I decided that I was not going to set up the tent unless I though strong rain was imminent. As I kept watching the sky I noticed that to the West were huge black rain clouds. This was my sign, so I set up the tent, then almost immediately the rain started. It started as a light drizzle and the picked up intensity, my wife put her and the kids in the tent, and everyone started trying to get under some cover. Me and the other guys there pretty much avoided the tent just to make sure all of our wives and children could have the cover they needed, but then the heavens opened up! I caved and went into the tent and sat with my fam and about 6 other women and about 10 kids (all in a 3 man tent!). The guys, who were all soaking wet by now razzed me pretty well. They said things like, “Swint, you guys having a Relief Society meeting in there?” “How are all you women and kids doing?” I just rolled with it and pointed out that at all Relief Society meetings there was supposed to be a priesthood holder there, so I was just presiding. That got a chuckle. For the record, everyone who wanted to come in came in, besides we don’t own an umbrella, our last one broke, and my daughter was really happy I was there to hold her during the storm. (Although, I joked that I was like George Costanza in Seinfeld when he is at the kids b-day party, a fire breaks out, and he pushes the kids and old ladies out of the way to save himself).

After the storm we all got out, my 3 y.o. daughter was fairly scared so I stayed with her for a while. The parade field was virtually empty, everyone evacuated during the storm. So this was about 8:30 and all was well after that, with a 9:45 scheduled fireworks show. Well, my daughter is kind of a scaredy cat. Last year during the FW show she buried her face in my chest and covered her ears. I had hoped that being a year older would change that. Well, it didn’t. She was sitting on my lap when the show started and with the first crack of the fireworks she covered her eyes with her hands and buried into me again. So, I turned her around and let her put her head on my shoulder, a friend sitting next to us gave us a blanket with which my daughter wrapped herself in like a cocoon, I didn’t know if she could breath. So about 5 minutes in while I am talking to her and trying to comfort her (and fortunately she didn’t cry at all) I felt a warm sensation around my waist and thigh’s, oh yes, she pee’d on me! It was awful, but what could I do, I couldn’t change clothes or take her off of me, she was too scared. So I just sat there, fuming and disgusted. The show lasted another 25 minutes, the whole time I was feeling bad about her and also thinking that I had to ride my bike at 10:30 pm, pulling two kids, and covered with urine. Nevertheless, the show was impressive, the base does a fantastic job.

So we packed up and headed home. Before we left I had found two bike lights that mount on the front of bikes, unfortunately we did not have the mounting brackets, so I just duck taped them on, it was pretty ghetto. I am glad we did though, on the way home we were able to take a bath through the woods in the dark and avoided all of the pedestrians and traffic, it was tough to see at times, but it was fun. When we finally pulled up to the house, my wife went around back to go unlock the front door. I got the kids out and saw that my daughter was doing the pee dance again, just as my wife opened the door and started rushing my daughter to the bathroom, my daughter started peeing again, all over the floor. Ugh, it was awful. Fortunately we got her cleaned up and put into bed. Crazy. All in all we had a really good time and made some fun memories, but we were dead tired.

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Is Today the Real Independence Day?

I recently finished reading the book John Adams by David McCullogh, therein it is mentioned that it was actually July 2nd in which the Declaration of Independence was accepted and signed. In fact July 4th was the day it was “officially” released, but very few representatives actually attended congress that day; it was virtually a day off. This is what John Adams had to say in his journal about July 2nd:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore.

By the way, I am not writing this to disparage July 4th, I just think that this was an interesting bit of history. Besides the fact that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same July 4th would not have the same impact if independence day were July 2nd.


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